Hermeneutics - Lesson 22

Hermeneutics and Poetry (Part 2)

From this lesson, you gain valuable insights into the different types of psalms found in the Psalter, including war songs, love songs, lament psalms, thanksgiving psalms, psalms of Zion, hymns to God, wisdom psalms, penitential psalms, and imprecatory psalms. You learn that poetry is not devoid of theology and that the colorful, figurative language in the Psalms conveys profound theological truths. Dr. Miles emphasizes the importance of recognizing the structure, metaphors, and historical context of each psalm while interpreting them. You are encouraged to engage with the Psalms in a way that aligns with their specific type, allowing you to better appreciate the diversity of expression and theological depth found within this poetic book.

Todd Miles
Lesson 22
Watching Now
Hermeneutics and Poetry (Part 2)

I. Types of Psalms

A. War Songs

B. Love songs

C. Lament psalms

D. Psalms of Zion

E. Praise songs

F. Thanksgiving hymns

G. Wisdom psalms

H. Penitential psalms

I. Imprecatory psalms

II. Literary Inclusio

III. Keys to Interpreting the Psalms

A. Literary clues

B. Hermeneutical principles

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  • This lesson delves into theological text interpretation, emphasizing that meaning is human-made, not inherent. Authors, not readers, shape text meaning. Accurate Bible interpretation hinges on understanding God's authorship, emphasizing His lordship, knowledge, and obedience. Presuppositions about God and human nature are vital for accurate Bible interpretation.
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  • From this lesson, you will gain valuable knowledge and insight into hermeneutics and biblical interpretation. You will understand that hermeneutics is not about uncovering hidden secrets but about utilizing your natural ability to interpret communication. Reading and becoming familiar with the Bible is crucial for effective interpretation, and it is essential to address biblical illiteracy.
  • Learn the significance of interpreting Bible passages in the context of redemptive history. Discover the Bible's continuous narrative, emphasizing revelation's progression and God's plan through the David and Goliath story. See how context ensures accurate interpretation, connecting the Bible's parts into a cohesive story of God's redemption.
  • Understanding the Bible through biblical theology is crucial, as it reveals the overarching narrative of God's redemptive plan, centered on His glory and the role of Jesus Christ, enabling a more profound comprehension of individual Bible passages and their relevance to our lives.
  • Dr. Todd Miles underscores the vital role of historical and cultural context in interpreting the Bible. Understanding the era when a passage was penned is crucial for grasping its genuine significance. Using examples like the virgins' parable and Revelation 3:14-22, it demonstrates how historical context aids in discerning interpretations and adds depth to the message. The text emphasizes that, while the Bible offers some historical context, external sources can also enhance comprehension. In conclusion, historical and cultural context is essential for accurate biblical interpretation.
  • In this lesson on Hermeneutics by Dr. Todd Miles, the focus is on understanding the cultural context when interpreting biblical texts. Dr. Miles emphasizes that culture plays a significant role in both the biblical author's writing and the reader's interpretation. He discusses the concept of cultural conditioning, highlighting that everyone, including the biblical authors, the original audience, and modern readers, is influenced by their respective cultures.
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  • In this lesson, you will gain an understanding of interpreting biblical narratives. It begins by discussing the distinction between historical narratives and parables, emphasizing the importance of recognizing the markers of historical narrative.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles review biblical narrative interpretation. He emphasizes the importance of context, adding that each narrative should be examined within the broader biblical and book context. He illustrates this with Mark Chapter 5, where Jesus interacts with demons, breaking from the norm to underscore his authority.
  • From this lesson on Hermeneutics and Law, you will gain insight into the intricate relationship between the Old Testament law and New Covenant believers. Dr. Todd Miles emphasizes the challenge of applying ancient laws to contemporary life and introduces the key factors for understanding them: comprehending the nature of covenants and situating oneself in the timeline of redemptive history. This process is likened to using a mall map to find a destination.
  • Dr. Todd Miles discusses prophecy's significance beyond predicting the future. It validates God's deity, reveals future realities, and guides our present actions. Most prophecy is about forth-telling and emphasizes covenant understanding.
  • In this Hermeneutics lesson, you'll gain insights into the challenges of interpreting prophecy, including wrong expectations, historical context, conditional fulfillment, and various forms of prophetic proclamations, while also being reminded not to let contemporary agendas override the biblical text.
  • In taking this lesson, you gain insight into the concept of typology in biblical interpretation. Typology involves finding resemblances between Old Testament figures, events, and institutions and their fulfillment in the New Testament, particularly in relation to Jesus Christ.
  • Learn about poetry in the Bible by exploring Hebrew poetic parallelism and its emotional power in Psalms. Discover how poetry enhances biblical narratives and offers unique insights.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Todd Miles discusses various types of psalms found in the Psalter and delves into their unique characteristics and theological significance. He begins by providing a list of different kinds of psalms, emphasizing that this list is not exhaustive but illustrative, highlighting the diversity of poetry within the Psalms.
  • By studying this lesson, you gain insight into essential figures of speech in the Bible and learn to interpret them effectively, enhancing your hermeneutical skills and deepening your understanding of the Scriptures.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Todd Miles discusses the interpretation of parables. Parables are a specific literary genre with their own rules of interpretation. Parables are designed to teach a single point, although there might be exceptions. Historical context remains essential in understanding parables, as they are shaped by the situations of the day. 
  • This lesson explores Proverbs and wisdom literature, focusing on its distinct genre, interpretation rules. Dr. Miles highlights its purpose, living wisely with God. It emphasizes the fear of the Lord, touches Ecclesiastes' question of meaning, and Job's theodicy.
  • In this lesson on interpreting epistles, Dr. Todd Miles underscores the importance of understanding their structure, argumentative methods, and central theological focus on Jesus Christ and the gospel, even when addressing practical issues within the early Christian communities.
  • Dr. Todd Miles delves into apocalyptic literature, emphasizing its distinct features like revelatory communication and angelic guidance. It unveils profound truths through visions, promoting understanding and righteous conduct.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Todd Miles explores the concept of perspicuity, which refers to the clarity of the Bible. He begins by explaining that perspicuity is a theological term used to describe how clear the Bible's teachings are. It means that the Bible is written in a way that its teachings can be understood by anyone who reads it, seeks God's help, and is willing to follow it.
  • This lesson provides practical guidelines for applying biblical principles. Dr. Miles emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit, examining the original context, and identifying parallel situations in the present. He encourages applications to be personal, specific, measurable, and time-bound, ensuring they lead to tangible actions in your life.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp the Holy Spirit's vital role in biblical interpretation, going beyond changing hearts to enabling comprehension and acceptance of the text. Dr. Todd Miles stresses the Spirit's role in illuminating the Bible, making it relevant to believers, challenging the idea that unbelievers interpret it as effectively, and emphasizing the importance of understanding the text's intent. The ultimate aim is not mastery but being mastered by the text, with the Holy Spirit as a key player.
Hermeneutics is the science and art of the interpretation of the Bible. It's a science because it is an orderly process based on rules you can apply. It is an art because of the nuances in communication and translation.



Dr. Todd Miles


Hermeneutics and Poetry (Part 2)

Lesson Transcript


Let's continue talking about poetry. And I'm thinking right now about the different kinds of psalms that we find in the Psalter. And again, I'm giving you this list not as an exhaustive list to be memorized, but more as an illustrative list to demonstrate that there are different kinds of psalms, there's different kinds of poetry, and each different kind is going to do something different. For example, there are war songs. This is one of the earliest forms of poetry that that we've dug out of the dirt worldwide in the ancient Near East. But but we find them in the Bible as well, and they most often dwell upon the hand of God, who has stretched out his hand to to to rescue his people. We read one in Judges chapter five that that victory dance of Israel and celebrating the victory over Sisera. There are also, though, love songs, and the Song of Solomon is probably the best example of that. And that raises all sorts of questions about how best to interpret the Song of Solomon. I'm not entirely sure. I'll tell you what I think. There's there's different strategies, though, here. Some some people say, well, this is just flat out an allegory. It represents Christ's love for Israel and then Christ's love for the church. Some people think that it's a post exilic midrash on divine Love, which is just that like, like Hebrew commentary on on the love of God. Some people say that it's it's a drama between a maiden and and her lover. Others say there's just no structure to this at all. It's really just a collection of secular Hebrew love songs. And others say that these are songs to be used in the rituals of the Israelite festivals. I'm not entirely sure on it what it is. I suspect that is it is what it seems to be on the surface that that it's a love song and it celebrates the love between a man and a woman. Following Osborne, I'm not sure that there's much in the way of plot structure there. Again, I've seen people talk about plot structure there. I'm not entirely sure. We do see, though, that the love between the two is as strong at the beginning as it is at the end. And so I think it's preeminently a love song. There are lament Psalms as well. And these are addressed to God. They they are a lament, a pouring out of your heart to God, where you give a description of your troubles. They are petitionary at the same time, you're asking God for something. Most of the lament psalms, though they confess confidence in God and at least in in my neck of the woods here in the Pacific Northwest of America, we we don't spend a lot of time on on lament. But but lament is is a huge part or it ought to be a huge part of of the Christian experience. 48 of the 150 Psalms in the Psalter are Psalms of lament. That's almost a third of them. And and as we know, this is this is a broken world and it's full of broken people. And so there's plenty of reasons to lament. And the Bible authorizes that. It teaches us how we are to pour our hearts out to God and what kind of troubles are addressed in and laments. Well, all kinds of troubles. There's suffering from illness. You could look at Psalm six and 13 and 31, 38, 39, being oppressed by enemies. In many ways, that's kind of a one size fits all sort of of of lament, because your enemy could be anyone. But but we see lots of that. Psalms three, nine, ten Psalms 52 through 57 are all psalms of lament, pouring your heart out to God because you're being oppressed by enemies. And it goes on and on. There's also a lament over your own sin as well. Some 25, 38, some 51, the Psalm of David, where after he was confronted and owned up to his sin with Bathsheba, he pens Psalm 51. It's it's it's an amazing psalm talking about the depths of of his heart sin. And I think that a lot of people around the world should look at Psalm 51. I wish agents which would read some 51 and instruct their their clients this is how you publicly own sin. You pour your heart out that way. A common theme, though, in the Psalms of lament. There are some some common elements there. There's there's oftentimes an address like, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? We see that say, in some 22. And then typically there is a description of the distress. This is why I'm feeling bad. Like Psalm 57, I'm in the midst of a lion's den. Have you noticed? Oftentimes this is highly figurative and then there's a plea for salvation or redemption, A prayer for deliverance. Defeat of enemies. So arise. Oh, Lord, deliver me. Oh, my God. Psalm three. That's usually followed by a statement of confidence in God like. So we we just think of the progression here. Lord, why have you forsaken me? I'm in the midst of lions. Arise, Lord, please deliver me. And then followed by statement of confidence. And I know you can do it, Lord. I know you can do it. Psalm 12 reads Oh, Lord, you will preserve us. You will protect us from this generation forever. And then, you know, you can just see the wheels turn in the minds of the psalmist because it feels so human at this point, doesn't it? You think, Oh, why would God do something to me or for me like this? I'm a sinner, I better confess my sin. And that's exactly what happens. Pardon my guilt for it is great, you know. You know, you have just gone to Lord. You've asked him to help you and I better confess my sin. And then, like all foxhole prayers, there's usually a vow about, Lord, if you get me out of this, you get me out of this. I promise I will, like, go to seminary or something like that. Right. So in Psalm 56, I must present vows to you. Oh, God. I will render think offerings to you and then followed by some sort of conclusion. That's usually a restatement of the request be exalted, oh, God, above the heavens. Let your glory be over all the earth. Now, not every lament Psalm will have all of those elements, but every lament. Psalm will have most of them. And. You know, they feel so human. I was kind of joking about it because, you know, you can just see the wheels turn in the mind of the psalmist because we know how we think. And the song is this thinking the way that we do. And maybe that begins to answer a question how are human words to God, say, David, Psalm 51. How are David's words to God, simultaneously God's words to us.? And maybe this is why so many people are attracted to the Psalms, because here we have divine authorization to pour our heart out to God. Not just divine authorization. Like, Oh, it's okay, but it's also and this is how you do it. And when we read the Psalms, we see how earthy they are, how raw they are. It is literally a pouring out of your heart to God. And what the Psalms teach us is. God likes that and He desires that. He desires it so much that He gave us an entire Psalm book that gives us a myriad of examples on how to do it. Okay, Psalms of Zion or in other kinds of Psalm. These are also called Psalms of Ascent or the Royal Psalms. Examples of that 48 Psalm 84, Psalm 122. These these are Psalms that I like to think of them as, like when the Israelites were going up to Jerusalem. So that's why they're called Psalms of ascent, because anywhere you're at in Israel, for the most part, if you go to Jerusalem, you're going up to Jerusalem. And as you as you go to Jerusalem for your pilgrimage, you would probably sing these these royal psalms. You're going to the city of David, the city of our great God and king. Jerusalem is a city uniquely associated with God. It's it's the location of the temple. It's where you had to go for your pilgrim festivals. And if that applies to David and his descendants, then how much more would it apply to someone like Jesus? Because the King is God's representative. And the Royal Psalms teach us that love for the King is synonymous with love for God. That that if you want to show love for God, then you show love for his chosen king. Of course, with Jesus, that's that's even more transparently obvious. There are what we would expect to find in the Psalms, Hymns to God or Praise Songs, or that's another kind of psalm, a praise song. The structure typically would be something like you call upon the Lord or There's a call to worship God. And then a motivational clause that often center upon the attributes of God. That's followed then by a conclusion which repeats that call. And we see that sort of thing in Psalm 111. Psalm eight, where God is praised as creator. Psalm 66 God is praised as protector or benefactor of Israel. Psalm 33. God is praise for being the sovereign Lord who governs history. There are Thanksgiving Psalms. These are Psalms that are written just to express your thankfulness to God. And there are more. You might think that sounds like a pretty song. Well, it basically is. Again, this is a taxonomy that we impose on the text. It it doesn't say, you know, this is a praise song of the Sons of Korah. No, it's. This is a psalm of the sons of Korah. And we're trying to think about what they are. And so we've laid this taxonomy, these categories upon them. A Thanksgiving psalm is very specific. They thank God for his answers to specific prayers that that have been uttered. They praise God for his protection. They will invoke faith in our loving God as we recount what God has done for us with a thankful heart, then our faith usually increases. These Thanksgiving songs are meaningful in stressful situations. They they provide a lot of valuable parallels in the New Testament teaching just on trust in God. The structure of a Thanksgiving song would be there's usually an invitation to give thanks or praise to God. Then you give an account of of of a trouble that you had gone through and then the salvation that God brought to you. You recount that and you praise the Lord. You acknowledge that He's the one who saved you. That's usually followed by some sort of offertory formula like and God, you did this for me. So now I'm going to do this for you as you respond in Thanksgiving. And then oftentimes there's a blessing that goes over all the participants in in in this ceremony with an exhortation to to keep following the Lord. There are wisdom Psalms. These are a lot like the Proverbs, except much longer than the simple Proverbs. Psalm one is a really good example of a wisdom Psalm some 49 and 73 127 128 are also examples. There are penitential Psalms which are simultaneously Psalms of lament, but a penitential Psalm is a is a song that is sung or read in confession of sin. So you are penitent. This is what repentance looks like. There are no excuses. Another kind of psalm that we find is an imprecatory psalm. And I'm going to dwell on this for a little longer because I think these are misunderstood and uncomfortable, quite frankly. So let's turn to the mother of all in imprecatory Psalms, Psalm 137, Psalm 137. And this is such a strange psalm because it begins with perhaps the most beautiful line in all of biblical literature, and it ends with the most cringe horrifying line perhaps in all of typical literature. So it begins this way, By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. There, we hung up our lyres on the poplar trees for our captors there, asked us for our songs and our tormentors for rejoicing. Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord's song on foreign soil? If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth. If I do not remember you, if I do not exalt, Jerusalem is my greatest joy. Remember, Lord, what the Edomites said that day at Jerusalem. Destroy it. Destroy it down to its foundations. Daughter Babylon. Doomed to destruction. Here's where we get to the imprecations. The curse. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us. Happy is he who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rocks? Okay. We went from perhaps the most beautiful line, 137 verse one, to the most cringeworthy line, verses eight and nine. How can this be God's word to us? Is this what God wants? Does he want babies heads crushed against the rocks? What about love for enemy? How is this God's word to us? And there are plenty of imprecatory Psalms and plenty of imprecations in the Bible, or pleas for not just deliverance, but pleas for vengeance in the Bible. And I think we should just own this and live into it. That this is a thing that God, God does for his people. Maybe one way to think of it is this way. The imprecatory psalms are a plea for God to deliver and pay back. It's a plea for justice. It's a plea for vengeance. A plea for vengeance where you're asking, God, may your justice be done. The writer is pouring out his complaint to God in this Psalm. Someone 37 regarding the exile. We see that they're not in Zion anymore. They're in Babylon. You see the repetition of the word there by the rivers of Babylon. There we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. There we hung up our lyres for our captors. They're asked us for songs. And you feel that the anguish as they have been torn out of their land. And what makes it worse is they know it's their own fault. God promised them that this is what would happen to them. Remember Deuteronomy 28? Well, the mother of all curses has come down upon them exile, and they have been vomited out of the land. And they are someplace they're not in Zion. And then their captors torment them by mocking them. Sing us a song. Amuse us. Sing of one of your patriotic songs, you miserable losers. Right. And they can't sing the Songs of Zion. The Songs of Zion are patriotic songs. They're songs that delight in the Lord, delight in Jerusalem, delight in Mt. Zion. They can't do it. And so the first curse is actually on themselves. Their oh, God, if, if, if I ever forget the Lord's song. May my tongue never move again. May my tongue never move again if I don't remember and exalt Jerusalem. And then the psalmist says, Remember what the Edomites did? They were there cheering on the Babylonians. Remember them? Remember what they said. And then the focus turns upon Babylon itself. The ones who are responsible for their exile. And they say, God, you promised that you would avenge us. Deuteronomy chapter 32, verse 35. This is codified in the Mosaic Law. This is a covenant that God made with Israel. Where God says, Vengeance is mine. I will repay. And so what the author of Psalm 137 is doing here, and even though the language is is difficult for us, but we should expect that, right? Because it's poetry, it's raw, it's emotional, it's earthy. But what the writer is doing is he's saying, God, you promised. You promised us that you would avenge us, and now we ask you to do it. Do it. And we have some ideas about how you might go about it at the same time. But it's it's Hebrew, it's poetry. It's very human. It's raw. He's calling for just judgment on the basis of the covenant curses. And it's there's hyperbolic language there, I grant that. But that's typical of of emotional passages. Further, you know, we might also be thinking, yeah, but Jesus does something different in the New Testament. He gives us a better way. He says, Pray for your enemies. Pray for your enemies. And I agree. I agree. But there's plenty of vengeance and justice promised in the New Testament as well. Jesus talked an awful lot about judgment. But if you turn over to something in the apocalyptic literature, which we haven't talked about yet, but we will later, we have a very interesting passage in Revelation chapter six, Revelation Chapter six. And in this in this passage, in this passage, there are a number of of individuals who have been killed or martyred because of their confession in Christ. We pick it up with the breaking of the fifth seal. Verse nine When you open the fifth seal I saw under the altars the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the Word of God and the testimony they had given. So. So these are people who were killed because of their confession. They were persecuted and martyred for the faith. For their faith. And they surround the altar. In John's vision and firsthand, they cry out with a loud voice. Lord, the one who is holy and true. How long until you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood? And then verse 11, we get some response there. They are clothed and they're told to wait because their number is not yet complete. There's more there's more people who will be arriving soon who will have been killed for the faith. But I would submit to you that there is no difference whatsoever in content between Revelation chapter six, verse ten. How long until you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood? And Psalm 137, verses eight nine. The difference is in the style, which is a genre difference, but the request is the same. It's exact saying, Oh, Lord of injustice. And maybe one of the reasons that we are uncomfortable with such language about judgment and vengeance is because we haven't experienced evil the way that God's people historically always have. There is real evil in this world. And one of the big questions that we see being uttered by humans in the Scriptures is how long, Oh, Lord, how long? Why did the wicked prosper? Why do the righteous suffer? Well, Psalm 137 is asking that same question. It's just doing it in an impressive story way. So you're a follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, love your enemies. That is true. But that doesn't negate the justice of God and it doesn't negate the judgment of God either. I think we can simultaneously pray for our enemies and call on God for justice. And, you know, one of the chief ways that we do that, do you know one of the chief imprecatory prayers that we can pray? Come quickly, Lord Jesus. That is a prayer of imprecation. Because when we say come quickly, Lord Jesus, what are we asking? We're asking him to return and make everything right. We're asking him to return so that the righteous would no longer suffer. We're asking him to return so that the wicked would no longer prosper. As a Christian, a follower of Jesus, we have to hold two things in tension that should be part of our prayer life all the time. Have mercy. Oh, Lord. Even so. Come quickly. Have mercy. We know that those who war against us, we were just like them. We were just like them until Grace came. Have mercy. But even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus. Make this right. Make this right. So that's those are psalms of imprecation. The the language is raw. It makes us cringe a little bit. We might think it violates our sensibilities, but we probably need to grow up. We probably need to grow up and realize there's evil in this world and it cannot go unanswered. It can't go unanswered. And the message of the Bible from start to finish is it's not going to go unanswered. And that's supposed to give us hope, not make us cringe. So some other devices that we find in poetry. The Incluso. And I include this in poetry, even though there is inclusios in all different kinds of literature, the inclusio is a form of chiasm that appears in both poetry and literature. It acts as a set of bookends, if you will, that again, drive our attention towards the middle. And they're used throughout Scripture. They're fairly easy to identify. It's where you have a thought. That is repeated. And then we wonder what what just happened in the middle. We see this in the Beatitudes of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount. How the first and eighth Beatitudes are very much similar. A lot of people see an inclusio there, even in narrative, we'll have inclusio. It's a literary device. The temptation of Joseph by part of his wife. And in Genesis chapter 39, we get this, an inclusio. Joseph has been sold into slavery in Egypt and we read in verse two when he joins Potter for the Lord was with Joseph and he became a successful man serving in the household of his Egyptian master. Well, you know what happens with Potter for his wife Joseph, unjustly accused and ends up in prison. And we join the story there when he's in prison in versus 21 through 23. And what do we read when Joseph is in prison? Is in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him. That's an inclusio of sorts. And we might think, okay, the Lord was with Joseph the Lord was withJoseph and then lots of bad things happened in between. He went from bad to worse. Like. Like out of the frying pan into the fire. What kind of the Lord was with Joseph is this? And I'm not sure I want it, but we are being assured here. That the Lord is with Joseph, and everything that's going on with Joseph is is that the Lord is right there in the middle of it. And I would argue has been ordaining it from start to finish. So that that's an inclusion From a poetic standpoint, we might call that a chasm, a chasm. But but we find inclusio like this all through the Bible in the various kinds of literature. How do we interpret the Psalms? Well, here's some here's something very important to recognize. Poetry is not atheological. Poetry. I've emphasized that it's artistic, but that doesn't mean that it's not full of theology. And we can get theology from the Psalms. The poetic language is colorful. It's often figurative, but that's just the manner in which good stuff is delivered. We should look for structure like parallelism or acrostic look for those strophes, that sort of thing. Also, be on the lookout for figurative imagery and figures of speech, which we'll talk about next there. Note the patterns that we find in the poetry Identifying structure would be key to interpreting poetry, it seems to me. I talked for a while about how to identify a strophe. Look for those. Any time that I preach a psalm, I look for the strophes and I have one point from each strophe. I remember going to a service review one time, and and the one question I got was, how come you have four points and not three? I guess, you know, Baptists are supposed to have three points in every sermon. And I said, because there were four strophes, because there were four stanzas, if there would have been six stanzas, I would have had six points. But there were four. I happen to have four. I know four is not a magic number. Three is a magic number. I learned that in Schoolhouse Rock, nevertheless, bound by the Word of God. Four points. One for each strophe group. The parallel lines together where you can and again, don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out the difference in in the parallelism unless it's antithetical parallelism. But if it's synonymous parallelism, then then just go with what is being emphasized there. Study the metaphorical language again. We'll look at figures of speech here in a bit. Note the historical background to the Psalm. I mentioned that that there are historical notes in some of the Psalms. That's part of that, that superscription that we find in the beginning of each Psalm. That's part of the inspired text, it appears. And it's not just an add on by your Bible publisher. There are historical notes in like Psalm three and seven and 18. Psalm 51 is the most famous of the historical notes. That's some that's David's psalm of confession. And we're told this is David Psalm of confession after he was busted for his sin with Bathsheba. Study the psalm in terms of its basic type. Remember that you want to do what God is doing in the tasks. If you're teaching and our first interpretive question or a second one should be, what is God doing in this text? Well, if it's a time of Thanksgiving, I think he's, I don't know, thanking God. Right. Thanking God. So we want to do what God is doing there. If it's a psalm of confession, it's he's confessing. So pay attention to the basic type of psalm that it is. Is there a literary context which is? That's always the first question we should ask. What's the context? Well, that's difficult with the Psalms, especially from a literary standpoint. But all I'll give you some thoughts that I picked up from from Wehham here. This is from his from his book Towards a Canonical Reading of the Psalms. He writes the first two Davidic collections, the first two books of Psalms, that is one through 41 and then 42 through 72 cover episodes from David's life, though not in chronological order. But the great hopes for David's descendants, expressed in some 72, were apparently shattered by the fall of Jerusalem and the monarchy, events alluded to in many psalms of Book three and most explicitly Psalm 89. However, books four and five respond to Psalms 80. Psalm 89. Lament with the call to trust in the Lord's rule, not in human rulers. Clear, another author, holds it in the fourth and fifth books of the Psalter. The Davidic Psalms must be understood as the Psalms of a future. David. I'm not sure. I'm not sure about that. To me, it looks more like a collection of songs. I suspect there's more to it than that. And maybe those words by Wenham are helpful. And I give them to you just to illustrate that the people are thinking, Is there a literary context to to the Psalms? Study the messianic Psalms according to their historical purpose before noting their eschatological import. So always ask, what did it mean when it was written? And then if it's something Jesus picks up. What did it mean to Jesus? And then ask, What does it mean to us? So always that order. What did it mean? What does it mean? What did it mean? And if it's a messianic psalm, there's that. Middle question What did it mean to Jesus? How did Jesus use it? Um. Study. Study the song as a whole. Before drawing conclusions. Remember Psalms are intended to be understood as literary units. I don't know if you grew up in churches where you would sing a hymn and you would sing verses one, three and five of this hymn. And. And I thought, Man, if I were the one who wrote that song, I'd be kind of disappointed because I worked hard on lines two and four. What a strange thing. We don't do that at the church I'm at now, and I'm kind of glad, unless it's a bad song, in which case I wish we would have skipped some of the verses. Right. So. So there are some some words on how to interpret the Psalms in particular about Hebrew poetry in general. In the next section will pick up on how to interpret figures of speech.